Frameworks are sets of definitions, ideas about how things relate to each other, construed relationships, or even (especially!) of other frameworks, with which people make sense of phenomena and of themselves. Interlocking sets of frameworks which are cohesive enough can create and maintain a distinct identity, a kind of super-framework called an ideology, creating distinct ways of seeing and explaining things, which may not be easily translateable or compatible with analysis created through another ideological lens. It’s like people with different ideologies are watching different movies, even when they observe the same reality. But each of those ideologies or uber-frameworks ...........READ MORE
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Weapon of Theory
A friend recently wrote me, asking me “after how many years/generations do new settlers become Indigenous to a land? So, for example, are the Boers descendants today in S. Africa, African?”
It’s a question i’ve had a number of conversations about, not because i’ve any kind of special standing on the issue, but i think because it’s a question undergirding a lot of ways things are talked about on the radical left and in anticolonial movements. Over the past years i have come to the conclusion that like so many other questions, there are multiple valid answers, and the point ...........READ MORE
The world has changed over the past fifty years. There are different names for this change — neoliberalism, postmodernism, postfordism, globalization. The term i prefer to use is “neocolonialism”. But despite this clear reference to one specific thing — colonialism, the relationship between oppressor and oppressed nations, which i would argue remains central — the change that has taken place encompasses much more than that, being not just about the fake ...........READ MORE
Austerity is often described as an act of class war, on the part of the rich. Depending on who is talking, this assault might be described as an attack against the middle class or the working class, or any number of constituencies in capitalism’s gunsights. It affects many people; consequently specific examples can galvanize broad opposition, mass mobilizations, and … easy recuperations. Because while neoliberal austerity hits many people, it does not hit us in the same way, nor with the same force.
Austerity appears to some as a theft, robbing them of the standard of living that they and ...........READ MORE
In Jailbreak Out of History, revolutionary Amazon theorist Butch Lee shows how the anticolonial struggles of New Afrikan/Black women were central to the unfolding of 19th century amerika, both during and “after” slavery.
The book’s title essay, “The Re-Biography of Harriet Tubman”, recounts the life and politics of Harriet Tubman, who waged and eventually lead the war against the capitalist slave system. As Lee explains, “Harriet Tubman was a radical political figure, someone totally involved as a player in the great political ideas and military storms of her day. She was a guerrilla. Someone who lived and taught others ...........READ MORE
Readers may be interested in these two texts, in which Zak Brown (of the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement) and JMP (of MLM Mayhem blog) discuss whether or not the Maoist strategy of Protracted People’s War is universal:
- Protracted People’s War Is Not Universal: Criticizing Jmp And The Maoist Strategy (Zak Brown)
- Response to Zak Brown: Without Revolutionary Strategy There Can Be No Revolutionary Movement (JMP)
The following was initially posted to the now defunct Maoist Information Web Site in December 2007; it is currently also available as a pdf on the Maoist Rebel News site, and is mirrored as a pdf here.
MIWS has begun addressing a question that others in the last couple of decades have addressed implicitly or indirectly: whether unequal exchange and other possible sources of international profit make up a bigger source of super-profit than capital exports. Marxist writer Arghiri Emmanuel in the 1960s and ’70s raised the question while trying to show that international trade was a significant site ...........READ MORE
The following paper analyzes the socialist debates on the national question up through 1914. I argue that an effective strategy of anti-colonial Marxism was first put forward by the borderland socialists, not the Bolsheviks. Lenin and his comrades lagged behind the non-Russian Marxists on this crucial issue well into the Civil War – and this political weakness helps explain the Bolshevik failure to build roots among dominated peoples.
Consequently, the Bolsheviks were either too numerically weak and/or indifferent to national aspirations to successfully lead socialist revolutions in the borderlands, facilitating the isolation of the Russian workers’ government and the subsequent ...........READ MORE
Perhaps I shouldn’t find significance in the short subtitle for JMP’s Communist Necessity essay, “prolegomena to any future radical theory” – but I do. The simple meaning of ‘prolegomena’ is prefatory remarks, but there is a more specific reference that is closer to what JMP intends. Kant’s Prolegomena to the Critique of Pure Reason was presented as the necessary basis for any future metaphysics that could lay claim to being scientific. Similarly, JMP offers this essay as the necessary ‘scientific’ basis for “any future radical theory”. He may only claim to have provided some elements of this ...........READ MORE
“There is a categorical difference, often overlooked, between trying to describe an event that has already happened … and trying to describe one that has yet to happen – and one, in addition, for which there is no precedent, or even near precedent, in history. Lacking experience to guide our thoughts and impress itself on our feelings, we resort to speculation. But speculation, however brilliantly it may be carried out, is at best only a poor substitute for experience. Experience gives us facts, whereas in pure speculation we are thrown back on theory, which has never been a very reliable ...........READ MORE